ESCALATOR MALFUNCTION – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
Plaintiff Dorothy Arnold, a 79 year old grandmother of three, was permanently injured when an escalator malfunctioned after a basketball game at Rupp Arena and threw her from the machine. Plaintiff alleged that the escalator was running while missing a critical piece – a safety strip – that caused a gap to form between the escalator steps. This gap allowed another rider’s shoe to become entrapped in the escalator which in turn caused an emergency stop. The escalator was owned by the Lexington Convention Center and maintained by KONE, Inc. Our attorneys brought suit against both companies on Ms. Arnold’s behalf.
During the pretrial phase of the case, Golden Law Office developed a forensic animation showing how the missing safety piece caused the entrapment that injured Ms. Arnold. Golden Law Office also obtained admissions that Defendants had spoliated and fabricated evidence by moving, reusing, and failing to safeguard escalator parts after the entrapment in violation of Kentucky law. After the first day of trial, both Defendants settled for a confidential amount.
NURSING HOME ABUSE – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
In this matter against a Lexington nursing home, an elderly nursing home resident was the victim of sexual abuse when nursing home staff took a video of her naked and uploaded it to the internet. During this same time period, another staff member diverted the resident’s narcotics medications and she suffered three separate falls causing injuries.
Golden Law Office sued on the resident and family’s behalf, alleging that the nursing home violated various state and federal statutes, and to recover damages for the abuse and falls that Plaintiff suffered. During the lawsuit, Golden Law Office discovered that portions of the nursing home’s medical chart had been fabricated and that the nursing home had underreported the number of staff in its building to state investigators. Plaintiff’s experts opined that this underreporting saved the nursing home $1.3 million that should have been spent on staffing the nursing home and preventing abuse. The case settled for a confidential amount less than a week before trial.
OB/GYN NEGLIGENCE – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
This tragic case involved a mother and baby who died as a result of an alleged OB/GYN negligence. Plaintiff was engaged in a high risk pregnancy due to multiple medical issues. She was seen by a perinatologist (high risk OB/GYN) who advised her OB/GYN to take the baby via C-section at 37 weeks. Golden Law Office was able to establish that the risk associated with failing to take the baby at 37 weeks or prior could lead to an abruption (the placenta breaking off from the uterus) causing the mother to potentially bleed out and the baby to die of oxygen deprivation. Unfortunately, the OB/GYN failed to comply with the perinatologist’s recommendations and allowed the victim to go full term without a planned C-section. Tragically, the victim and the baby died following a placental abruption.
Golden Law Office brought a claim on behalf of the Estate of the mother and unborn child seeking to recover damages for the significant loss. Through expert proof, Golden Law Office was able to demonstrate the lost earning capacity of the mother and baby. In addition, Golden Law Office hired experts to opine that the OB/GYN failed to meet the appropriate standard of care which led to the deaths of both the unborn baby and mother. Just days prior to trial, the case settled for a confidential amount.
MVA – UIM STACKING – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
This matter involved a rear-end collision on a highway. Golden Law Office demonstrated the defendant was traveling on the roadway in a negligent manner, thereby causing a rear end collision. Unfortunately, the motor vehicle accident resulted in the client’s death. Golden Law Office was able to determine that the Plaintiff had multiple vehicles and paid separate premiums on her insurance policies. Golden Law Office was able to stack the UIM policies on several vehicles to generate a settlement for the victim’s family in excess of $1M for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
OB/GYN NEGLIGENCE – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
In this matter, an OB/GYN performed the wrong procedure on the Plaintiff. Plaintiff was a young female intending to have children. Plaintiff developed irregular menstrual cycles and it was discovered that she had polyps on her uterus. The doctor had planned to do a polypectomy to take the polyps off her uterus hoping this would lead to more regular menstrual cycles. However, the OB/GYN performed an ablation which destroys the inside lining of the uterus and leads to significant damage including the potential inability to have children in the future. Golden Law Office was able to determine that the physician and her surgical team failed to perform a “time-out” which is required under the standard of care to ensure the proper procedure was being performed. Golden Law Office was able to secure a confidential settlement for the victim.
PREMISES LIABILITY FOR FIRE PREVENTION – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
In this very tragic and unfortunate matter, Plaintiff lost a child due to a fire at an apartment complex. The victim’s mother alleged she did not hear any fire alarms going off in the complex which led to a delayed reaction and the death of her toddler. Golden Law Office immediately hired fire inspectors to go to the scene of the accident. Working closely with the local fire department, Golden Law Office was able to establish that there was no specific origin of the fire that could be determined. Despite lack of origin, Golden Law Office was able to prove with thorough investigative efforts that the apartment complex’s fire alarms had not been updated or serviced for a long period of time. Furthermore, Golden Law Office was able to establish that the fire alarms at issue were cited for being non-compliant by the Fire Marshall just four days before the fire. Golden Law Office argued that the lack of working fire alarms delayed the victim’s reaction to the fire, thereby causing the toddler’s death. The case settled prior to a lawsuit being filed for a confidential amount.
INSURANCE BAD FAITH – $28,405,505
FACTS: Dale represented a motorist whose vehicle was struck in a head-on collision. The Plaintiff was incapacitated for an extended period of time causing his extensive business enterprises to fail. Discovery revealed that the driver of the at-fault vehicle had previously driven too many hours for a trucking company where he was employed. Eleven days before trial the at-fault driver’s insurance company had only offered $25,000 to settle the case. At trial, the amount was increased to $500,000 with the Plaintiff being told if he did not accept that amount that no additional offers would be made. Dale and his client immediately rejected the offer and announced ready for trial. This prompted the Defendants to offer $1,000,000 to settle the case. At the time, it was thought that $1,000,000 was the extent of the liability coverage. When it was learned there was an additional insurance policy over and above the primary $1,000,000 in coverage, a bad faith claim was filed against the Defendant’s insurance company.
RESULTS: At trial, the jury awarded a verdict of $28.4 million, the highest reported jury verdict against an insurance company for bad faith. Extensive appeals followed, including a Motion for Writ of Certiorari before the United States Supreme Court that was denied. Ultimately, the Appellate Court reversed the award.
PRODUCT DEFECT/WRONGFUL DEATH – $3,890,000
FACTS: Our attorneys represented an individual who tragically died in a house fire asserting a claim in Federal Court against the manufacturer of the space heater. The initial report by the local Fire Marshall’s Department stated that the fire was most likely caused by Class A combustibles being too close to the space heater. However, upon closer investigation, it was learned that the language contained within the report was boiler plate language and that the state officials were not intending to give an opinion as to the actual cause of the fire. Further discovery revealed that all of the sources of ignition other than the space heater were ruled out. Under the malfunction theory, if one can establish that all other potential sources of ignition have been ruled out, a jury may find that the space heater was the cause of the fire. In this case, well respected experts opined that resistive heating and/or an arcing event most likely caused the fire.
RESULTS: After extensive discovery and trial preparation, the case was settled for $3.89 million.
SCHOOL/EMPLOYMENT LAW – $3,500,000
FACTS: The Plaintiff, Melinda Cobb, was the principal of Leestown Middle School, hired in 1997 by the Fayette County Board of Education. The school had a history of problems and Ms. Cobb was instructed to correct the problems. Ms. Cobb was met with resistance at every turn from a small group of teachers and a small group of parents who were apparently satisfied with the status quo. In retaliation for her unpopular efforts, police officers met Ms. Cobb in her office on a Monday morning and conducted a frisk search of her body, and searched all of her belongings, her office and her motor vehicle. The search revealed a handgun in the glove compartment of Ms. Cobb’s automobile. However, the police involvement that occurred on a Monday was, according to Ms. Cobb, in retaliation for Cobb appealing a bogus evaluation on the prior Friday.
Superintendent Flynn was notified that a gun in the glove compartment of a motor vehicle was not a statutory violation but merely violated the school board’s policy. Flynn was further notified that in order for there to be a statutory violation, Cobb had to have taken the gun into the school. The day after Superintendent Flynn was notified of these facts, Ms. Cobb’s supervisor brought forth a witness who claimed that Cobb had taken a gun into the school building six months prior. The grand jury refused to indict Ms. Cobb on felony charges.
Ms. Cobb successfully appealed her termination before an administrative tribunal. Thereafter, she pursued her civil claim for a whistleblower violation and for wrongful use of administrative proceedings. Because Cobb’s immediate supervisor and the soon-to-be new Superintendent of Fayette County had admitted that they destroyed documents, the trial court gave an inference instruction that the documents that were destroyed would be favorable to Cobb.
RESULTS: The Court of Appeals reduced the amount of total recovery and awarded attorney’s fees.
CIVIL RIGHTS – $2,400,000
FACTS: Mr. Golden was lead counsel for Plaintiffs in a civil rights action regarding claims of sexual abuse by Ron Berry, an employee of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, spanning a time period of approximately 30 years. The lawsuit alleged that the government provided funding to Ron Berry’s organization, thereby enabling him to use his position of authority to sexually molest children. The case involved complex issues regarding class certification, governmental immunity, and statute of limitations issues. The case posed significant logistical challenges due to the number of witnesses, the 30-year time span covered by the allegations, and the voluminous documentation provided during discovery.
RESULTS: After intensive discovery, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government paid $2.4 million to settle the case.
CIVIL RIGHTS – $631,000
FACTS : Vickie Wilson, et al., Plaintiffs, v. David Webb, et al., Defendants , U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Bowling Green Division, No. 1:94-CV-45-M. Mr. Golden represented two students in this civil rights action against their teacher, Tony Luttrell. The trial lasted two weeks in federal court and over 150 witnesses were listed to testify. This case is notable in that it was the first time that the Sixth Circuit acknowledged that school children have a liberty interest in their bodily integrity that is protected by the Due-Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and that physical abuse by a school employee violates that right. The federal district court made this finding in Wilson v. Webb, 869 F.Supp. 496 (1994), despite the fact that the Sixth Circuit had yet to address the subject matter in a public opinion.
RESULTS: The matter settled for a confidential amount just weeks prior to trial after significant discovery was completed.
EMPLOYMENT LAW – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
FACTS : This case involved a Plaintiff who was being discriminated against in a hospital maintenance department. The case involved issues of sexual orientation and allegations of a hostile work environment. Despite the fact that approximately twelve co-workers had banded together to orchestrate an effort to have the Plaintiff fired from a maintenance job, Dale was able to pinpoint inconsistencies in the statements. Due to the fact of many of the inconsistencies were consistent with each other, it appeared that the sole purpose of the complaints was to have the Plaintiff fired from the maintenance position.
RESULTS: After extensive discovery and extensive motion practice, the case was settled for a confidential amount.
EMPLOYMENT LAW – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
FACTS : Dale represented a police detective in charge of computer forensics at a police department. When investigating a potential suicide/homicide case, the detectives came across a thumb drive. The thumb drive was provided to Plaintiff to analyze the contents. A portion of the contents of the thumb drive contained pornographic images. Thus, when another member of the police force looked on the Plaintiff detective’s computer, he came across the pornographic images. The case suddenly shifted to an investigation of the Plaintiff and whether he improperly had pornographic images on his work computer. Plaintiff was suspended from his work and retained Dale to represent him in the matter. The evidence showed that no one ever bothered to ask why the images were on the computer. The simple explanation was that the Plaintiff was conducting an investigation of the contents of the thumb drive to see if a suicide note or other evidence of homicide was present. When the pornographic images were transferred over to the detective’s computer, they all contained a last viewing time of 12:00 a.m. Consequently, a news article was run on television implying that the detective had accessed over 30 pornographic videos during the late night hours at the police station. Dale was able to obtain expert proof that the more than 30 pornographic images with the last access time of 12:00 a.m. was actually a default time assigned to the images when they were transferred from the thumb drive to the detective’s computer. The expert proof was uncontested by the forensic experts for the police department.
RESULTS: Subsequently, the case was settled for a confidential amount and the Defendants publishing a public apology to the Plaintiff detective in the local newspaper.
SCHOOL LAW – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
FACTS: A high school student was participating in a home economics class in a public school in Kentucky. During the home economics class another student became agitated and an altercation occurred. The Plaintiff was stabbed in the chest with an eight inch butcher knife that missed his heart by only centimeters. Afterwards, surveillance video in the halls showed the Plaintiff being run through the halls clutching his chest, seeking medical help and losing a lot of blood. Dale put on proof that tethering the knife for the home economics class or using an alternative knife with a rounded tip on the blade could have been a feasible, safer alternative. The Plaintiff suffered tremendous mental and physical pain and suffering as a result of his injuries. Discovery revealed that the school had no plans to change any of its policies or procedures in the home economics class.
RESULTS: After deposing the horse owners and litigating the coverage dispute, the matter settled for a confidential amount.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
FACTS: This matter arose following the death of a Plaintiff as a result of acute respiratory failure caused by excessive doses of Amiodarone, prescribed by a local cardiologist (Defendant). As a matter of background, Plaintiff was admitted to a local hospital on October 20, 2010, to have surgery due to a recurrence of colon cancer. Following the surgery Plaintiff suffered a series of heart problems which necessitated starting her on Amiodarone (a powerful medication designed to assure a patient’s heart remains in its normal rhythm). The known side effects of Amiodarone include pulmonary toxicity and liver damage, both of which may be fatal. Plaintiff was prescribed an initial loading dose of 400 mg every six hours. Defendant subsequently determined that the prescribed amount should be changed and called in a corrected prescription of 400 mg twice a day. This prescription came with three re-fills and Plaintiff took the medication as prescribed. However, neither Defendant nor anyone at his office ever performed any testing on Plaintiff to assure that she was not suffering from any of the reported side effects of Amiodarone. Plaintiff died after suffering from Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity. The matter was fiercely litigated by all parties. The legal issues in the case were numerous, including agency issues between the Defendant, hospital, the Defendant’s employees and the Defendant. The case concerned complicated issues surrounding both apportionment and indemnification. The matter proceeded to trial in the Fayette Circuit Court.
RESULTS: The case was zealously advocated and just one week prior to trial Defendants offered a confidential settlement amount which was accepted by the estate.
FACTS: Prior to his termination, Plaintiff served as the Vice President of Sales for North America at a large Kentucky Corporation making a large 6 figure salary. Just weeks prior to his termination, Plaintiff was promised the position of Global Sales Leader for the corporation, with the promise that he would later become President. Unexpectedly and unfairly, Plaintiff was terminated due to an alleged restructuring process. Without work, and with family, bills and a mortgage, Plaintiff applied with 35 different employers. The only job offered to Plaintiff was from a direct competitor of the Corporation. This new job forced Plaintiff to move across the country, from Lexington, Kentucky where he lived for 35 years, to California, a place where he has no family, friends or familiarity. After accepting the new job, Plaintiff requested the release from certain provisions of a document which the Corporation termed a Covenant Not To Compete (or as more familiarly known, Non-Compete Agreement). This request was denied by the Corporation’s President. Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking judicial intervention requesting the Court to void an unreasonable and invalid non-competition agreement. After voluminous motion practice, the Court indicated its intent to modify the agreement to allow Plaintiff to work for his new employer. Thereafter, the parties entered into an Agreed Order which allowed Plaintiff to continue to work for his new employer and compete against his former employee, subject to certain restrictions. Not surprisingly, after months of operating under the new modified agreement, the large Corporation attempted to sanction and sue Plaintiff for damages alleging that he violated the new modified agreement. Plaintiff successfully contested this attempt by the large Corporation and all attempts by the large Corporation to stop Plaintiff from working and competing were rejected by the trial Judge.
RESULTS: Today, Plaintiff is released from all terms of his Non-Compete Agreement and recently obtained business from the Corporation’s largest (now former) client.
CONSTRUCTION LAW – CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT
FACTS: Mr. Golden served as lead plaintiff’s counsel for Pikeville Methodist Hospital regarding the construction of the $28 million dollar hospital tower. The case was filed against the general contractor who was in charge of the project. The case was an extreme logistical challenge due to the volume of documents and the enormous scope of the construction project.
RESULTS: The defendant settled on the first day of what was to be a three-week trial, after Mr. Golden previewed for defense counsel a summary of his intended opening statement.
Trial Verdicts Previously Obtained for the Insurance Company
FACTS: Ronggui Li, Plaintiff, vs. Floyd Goodpaster, Jr., Defendant, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Fayette Circuit Court, Civil Action No. 01-CI-247. Ronggui Li, a post-doctorate fellow, was hit by a car while riding his bicycle through a pedestrian crosswalk. The Defendant was retired and legally blind in his left eye. The Plaintiff retained the forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robert P. Granacher, Jr., as his expert and sought $2.4 million in damages. Dr. Granacher testified live at trial and was subjected to a cross-examination by Mr. Golden that was later sold as a DVD by The Kentucky Trial Court Review. The cross-examination, which sold for $75.00, is the first such DVD ever offered by the publication.
RESULTS: Mr. Golden was able to obtain a defense verdict on behalf of the Defendant.
FACTS: Brenda Shepherd, Plaintiff, v. James Hale and Childers Oil Company, Defendants , Commonwealth of Kentucky, Perry Circuit Court; Civil Action No. 99-CI-0546. Mr. Golden represented the defendant oil company in a case where its 18-wheel tractor-trailer ran a red light on Christmas Eve and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle, ejecting her 40 feet onto the roadway. The plaintiff suffered a permanent closed-head injury, a lacerated scalp from her forehead to the base of her skull, a lacerated spleen, fractured ribs, fractured pelvis, and a collapsed lung. She was hospitalized for two weeks and spent three days in intensive care. The forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Granacher, testified live at trial on behalf of the Plaintiff. The last time Dr. Granacher testified live at trial in Perry County, the plaintiff obtained a $6.0 million verdict. The plaintiff also called a vocational expert live. Mr. Golden countered with his own forensic psychiatrist, a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a vocational expert.
RESULTS: The plaintiff asked for an award of $7.5 million, but the jury awarded less than $24,000.00. The case was ultimately settled.
FACTS: Jamyl Sydboten, Plaintiff, v. Amanda Bishop, Defendant, Commonwealth of Kentucky , Fayette Circuit Court; Civil Action No. 98-CI-0097. Mr. Golden represented the defendant in this motor vehicle collision case. A vehicle driven by Ms. Bishop struck the plaintiff, Sydboten. The plaintiff served as golf pro at the Andover Country Club and had ambitions of playing on the PGA tour. He submitted proof of medical bills in the amount of $21,022.00, plus a claim of over $1.0 million in additional damages associated with the alleged destruction of his golf career.
RESULTS: Sydboten was awarded $1,000.00 for his medical bills, $1,000.00 for pain and suffering, and was apportioned 30% of the comparative fault.
FACTS: Carl W. Richmond, Plaintiff, vs. Peryda M. Pike and West American Insurance Company, Defendants, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Jessamine Circuit Court, Civil Action No. 04-CI-00695. Mr. Golden represented Ms. Pike, who was 84 years old and was involved in a motor vehicle collision on April 2, 2002 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. She was traveling in a Jaguar and ran a red light at an intersection, striking a vehicle being driven by Mr. Richmond. Since the day of the collision, Mr. Richmond had been unable to work, and had been declared disabled. He sought medical bills in the amount of $129,083.00, as well as other damages that totaled over $1 million. The case hinged on the jury instructions that distinguished between the breach of duty of Ms. Pike as being a substantial factor in causing the “injuries” as opposed to causing the “collision.” The jury found in favor of Ms. Pike, thereby awarding nothing to the Plaintiff, due to the fact that Ms. Pike did not cause his “injuries.”
RESULTS: The trial court sustained Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial and the case subsequently settled.
FACTS: Michael G. Keating, Plaintiff, vs. Nationwide Insurance Company of America, Defendant , Commonwealth of Kentucky, Jessamine Circuit Court, Civil Action No. 02-CI-00287. One eyewitness to this motor vehicle accident testified that the Defendant in the underlying action ran the red light by some twenty seconds. As a result of the collision, the Plaintiff was transported by life-flight helicopter to the University of Kentucky Hospital, where he remained comatose for several days. The Plaintiff was treated for a closed head injury, memory loss, depression, dementia, mood disorder, and cognitive dysfunction. The forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robert P. Granacher, Jr., of Lexington, Kentucky, quantified the brain injury.
RESULTS: The Plaintiff sought over $2 million in damages. The underlying carrier, Kentucky Farm Bureau, paid $265,000.00 of its $300,000.00 policy limits. Mr. Golden appeared at trial and defended the UIM claim on behalf of Nationwide Insurance Company. The jury assessed fifteen percent (15%) of fault to the Plaintiff. A defense judgment followed, the adjusted verdict less PIP and comparative fault equaling $17,000.00, falling far short of the $300,000.00 UIM threshold. In fact, the $17,000.00 fell far short of the Plaintiff’s claimed medical bills, which totaled over $50,000.00.
FACTS: Ulysses Savage, et al., Plaintiffs, v. USAA, et al., Defendants, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Pike Circuit Court; Civil Action No. 97-CI-0362. The plaintiff had open-heart surgery and had traveled from Pikeville to Lexington for a thirty-day checkup. After meeting with his thoracic surgeon, and receiving a clean bill of health, he began traveling back to Pikeville. The tortfeasor pulled from an inferior roadway across the highway, causing the Plaintiff’s vehicle to T-bone the tortfeasor’s vehicle. The resulting collision allegedly caused the plaintiff to have an additional open-heart surgery. Three cardio-thoracic surgeons testified at the trial, as well as orthopedic surgeons, family practitioners, psychiatrists, and cardiologists. Mr. Golden acted as lead counsel for all defendants, including USAA, who was one of two named UIM carriers. Although liability appeared clear, the jury found the plaintiff to be 40% at fault and made an award of $8,782.00 in medical bills for Ms. Savage and $6,081.00 in medical bills for Mr. Savage. These were the same amounts USAA was seeking from the tortfeasor’s carrier, Allstate, on its PIP subrogation claim.
RESULTS: Therefore, the jury awarded the plaintiffs nothing and awarded USAA 100% of its PIP subrogation claim. This case is also notable in that Mr. Golden also defended USAA against claims of bad faith, which the Pike Circuit Court refused to bifurcate from the underlying claims. Despite this fact, Mr. Golden obtained a defense verdict for USAA on these bad faith claims as well.